I have many people asking me what the best abdominal exercise of them all is. If you have been under my guidance whilst having a lower back injury you will recognise the side bridge exercise. I often thought through my own experimentation, and prescribing the side bridge, that it was an important exercise for the development of the core muscles. Well guess what, I was right and this article proves it.
In this study they took six commonly prescribed trunk exercises and measured through ultrasound the most increase in muscle thickness. The side bridge (horizontal side-support), is used as a core exercise ‘based on its activation of the multiple trunk stabilising muscles including, quadratus lumborum, internal and external oblique, combined with its low lumbar loading’. The side bridge was shown in conjunction with the abdominal drawing in manoeuvre (pulling your belly button in) to elicit the greatest change in muscle thickness of the transverse abdominis (TrA) and the internal oblique (IO). Although I like the side bridge and it works, people who have shoulder or neck problems do find it difficult. Of the six exercises in this study I generally use four of them. These are:
- Abdominal Drawing in Manoeuvre
- Quadruped Opposite Upper and Lower Extremity Lift
- Supine Lower Extremity Extender
- Horizontal side-Support